PEI Canada Fueling Its Economy with Renewable Energy Target

Premier Pat Binns announced that Prince Edward Island (PEI) is committed to producing 30% of its total energy needs from local, renewable resources by 2016 (30×16).

“Each year, some $440 million leaves Prince Edward Island, as fossil fuels are imported to heat and power our homes and fuel our vehicles. This target is about keeping more of those dollars in PEI to strengthen our economy. And it is about creating new opportunities for Island farmers and a healthier environment today and for future generations,” Binns added. Premier Binns said the Province will reach the 30×16 target in stages, with the first step to produce 10% of total energy needs from local renewable resources by 2010. To do that, he said PEI will build on the success of the Renewable Energy Strategy launched in 2004. Almost all of the 19 action items in the strategy have been achieved. The Renewable Energy Act requires electrical utilities to acquire 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010; and regulations under the act allow for net metering for small-scale generators, set a minimum price utilities must pay for power produced by large-scale generators; and establish designated development areas for large scale wind projects. Some of the other highlights mentioned include the PEI Wind Atlas, which was created to identify areas that have the best potential for future wind energy development and the Province has introduced a provincial sales tax exemption for small scale renewable energy equipment. “We have demonstrated with the 15% renewable portfolio standard for electricity, that if we set a target, we will reach a target. In fact, both Maritime Electric and the Summerside Electric Utility will reach or exceed that target three years ahead of schedule. Now, we have to look beyond electricity, to our total energy needs,” the Premier said. Transportation fuels account for almost 40% of PEI’s total energy needs, so renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel will be key to reaching the 30×16 target, said Minister of Environment, Energy and Forestry Jamie Ballem. Minister Ballem said biofuels could also replace a portion of fossil fuels used for heating homes and other buildings — the other key component of the province’s total energy needs. The minister added there is also room to expand the use of biomass for space heating. Wood, in its various forms, and the energy-from-waste plant and district heating system in Charlottetown currently account for about 6.5% of PEI’s thermal energy needs. “It is a variety of renewable energy sources and a combination of projects that will create a strong and vibrant energy sector in the province and maximize benefits for Prince Edward Island,” Minister Ballem said. “The Renewable Energy Strategy has drawn international attention to PEI and established a climate that encourages investment in renewable energy projects in the province. In setting the new target of 30×16, we are reinforcing the message that Prince Edward Island is committed to being the leader in developing, demonstrating and implementing renewable energy technologies.”
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